Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Same sofa, different style slipcovers

I did these slipcovers for a client in Chicago out of a green linen.  She used them for 5 years and then decided to change the decor of her home.  She called me and wanted them redone in white denim with a box-pleated skirt this time around.
It's amazing how different they look even though they are exactly the same sofas.

To me, that's one of the benefits of slipcovers:  you can completely change the look of your room without buying all new furniture.  

You can also go the the thrift store and buy the ugliest sofa or chair in the world, and as long as it is a good piece of furniture and in good shape, it simply does not matter what it looks like.  Once the piece has a new 'dress,' no one, except you, will ever know what's underneath.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Shower curtains don't have to be boring!

An elegant shower curtain in a vintage bathroom.
The fabric I used was a Ralph Lauren cotton with a very silky look and feel.

The top detail:  tabs with ties attached separately.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

'Slipcovers' for people

A bit of a departure from my 'normal' work...

I much prefer making things for the home.  I find it a lot easier and a whole lot quicker.  In any case, I am happy with how these turned out.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Pillows Galore!

I love making pillows!  My favorite is when a client gives me a bunch of different fabrics and says to me, "Here, you design them.  I trust you."  The pillows above are examples of just that and are in the bedroom of a client's daughter.  

The two pillows below are actually the same pillow.  One of my specialties is to make pillows different on both sides so that when you turn them over, you truly have a 'new' look.


Sunday, December 21, 2008

The lovely Mary Smilove (sweetpeas and snapshots) with me.  Notice the very cool t-shirt I am wearing.  The fabulous shirt was designed and made by Debbie Hodge (Breathing Beside Us) and has been quite popular.
Fun (and champagne) was had by all who were fortunate enough to participate and to shop at Mary's amazing Trunk Show yesterday at her home in Santa Monica.  This picture shows my sea star charm necklaces, my vintage Coronado postcard pillows and Debbie's fab t-shirts.
Miss Pearl, Mary's sweet dog.
A very cool pink flamingo in Mary's kitchen.
More of Mary's wonderful stuff.

I met lots of amazing women at Mary's beautiful home.  It was a wonderful day and fun to get out of town, if only briefly.  I look forward to her next event!

Friday, December 19, 2008

My Very First Slipcovers

As promised, these are shots of the very first slipcovers I ever made.  Really, they could not have been easier, but I truly had no clue what I was doing.  At the time I was only doing window treatments and some bedding.  People kept asking me if I did slipcovers and I would tell them 'no.'  It finally dawned on me that, perhaps, I should learn how to make slipcovers.  So I bought a bunch of books and read up on the process.  I still didn't understand so I bought a chair for $12 from Betty's Resale Shop to practice on.  (At the time I had no furniture that could be  slipcovered.) And before I could make my own practice slipcover, I met this art dealer and she asked if I could slipcover the benches in her dining alcove.  I said, "sure, why not?"   I thought 'how hard can it be?'  Famous last words and I can't tell you how many times I've uttered those same words over the years.  I always find out exactly how hard it is.  In any case, I said I could do them so that's what I did.  Looking back now, it's amazing they turned out as well as they did.  For one thing the fabric was dress fabric, not even upholstery weight cotton, and it had to be lined.  Lining a slipcover is something I really try to avoid, but at the time I didn't realize how much more challenging that makes it.  Ignorance is bliss, and all that.  I must have gone to her house 12 times before I made the first cut.  I was afraid to cut it since I still had no clue.  Finally, though, I just jumped in and these were the result.  This was also long before I understood that all raw edges needed to be finished.  My serger was still in the future.  Anyway, for not knowing what I was doing, even at the time I thought they turned out pretty well.  She must have been satisfied as well since after that I did her sofa, 2 chairs, an ottoman and a  bunch of bedding for her and her daughters.  Everything was in white.  Next time I'll share with you those photos.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Just a short post today...

The fabric on this pillow is the MOST expensive fabric I have ever sewn on.  It cost $1700 per yard! That is SEVENTEEN HUNDRED not seventeen or one hundred seventy, but seventeen hundred.   It was an Italian silk velvet.  When I found out the cost, I asked, "Is it woven with  gold?"  Apparently not, but I cannot for the life of me understand how and why it should cost so much.  Amazing!

  I made this many years ago, when I lived in Chicago.  My client was an art dealer and had lots and lots of disposable income.  She was my first big client and next time I will post pictures of my very first slipcovers, benches in her dining area.  

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Custom Slipcovered Sectional Complete

I was off by a couple of days in the completion of this slipcover, but it is now installed and my client loves it.  

Although it is Sunday and I would dearly love a day of rest, that isn't in the cards for me today.  I have another sectional that must be finished and installed by Friday morning.  My client is having a 50th birthday party for her husband and requested they be ready for that.  So, I must get to work on my next job. 

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Custom Slipcover Process

 When I first started doing slipcovers, on top of having no clue what I was actually doing(which is another story in itself), I didn't have a digital camera.  That could be because they didn't exist then.  I always thought that I should get a Polaroid camera (I only ever thought this but never got as far as to buy one) so that when I started working on a particular job, I would remember what it looked like.  Once I take the pins out and all the pieces are flat, it's any one's guess what the piece looked like.  This is especially true when I don't work on something immediately, which I hardly ever do.  Once I got my digital camera (6 years ago now) and started taking shots of the furniture with the slipcovers cut on it, what a huge difference it made.  I truly do not know how I ever did it before.  

As you can see from the pictures, I do not cut the entire cover on site.  Since this is a sectional, though, I had to cut more than usual because the other half is not a mirror image.  It takes longer when I am at my client's home, but the nice thing is, when I start working on it, most of the base  is already cut out.  At that point, all I have to cut out are the cushions and the welting.

So, these pictures are of the current job I am working on.  I am hoping to have it finished and delivered tomorrow afternoon, but that might not work out.  In any case, once it is installed on my client's furniture, I will take the 'after' pictures and post them for you to see.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

I have been sewing since I was a little girl.  My mother would not buy me doll clothes (she said the quality was bad and that they were too expensive,) so if I didn't want naked dolls, I had to learn to sew.  The photo is of a doll dress I made sometime in 1967.  I am still amazed at the quality, even though I knew nothing at the time of finishing seams.  I guess I was always a bit of a perfectionist when it came to sewing.  I have it on my bulletin board,  just to remind me that if I do a good job, it will last through the years.   And I still think it is the coolest dress my Francie doll ever had!

I made my first dress for myself when I was 8 years old.  I can still remember it like it was yesterday:  it was a wrap-a-round dress with 3 armholes, made with yellow kettle cloth (Is this fabric even still around?) and orange bias tape that went on all the raw edges.  Oh, how I wish I still had that dress!    

I sewed all through high school and college, sometimes for others but mostly just for me.   With very few exceptions, I sewed only clothing, even having a clothing business in the early 80's.  When I returned to the States in 1990 from living and working in Europe for 3 years, I turned to sewing for the home.  I had a successful custom home furnishings business in Chicago for 10 years before moving to California in early 2001.  I reestablished my business in Coronado and have been happily doing custom work here ever since.  

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Custom, handmade slipcovers

These are just a few samples of my work.  I do custom slipcovered furniture, window treatments, bedding and pillows.  

I am located on Coronado Island, California and have clients throughout the San Diego area.  Although slipcovers require that you be local, all other custom work, i.e. pillows, window treatments, table linens, bedding, etc., is available regardless of your location.  Please feel free to contact me at: